New York City-based singer/songwriter, lyricist, and guitarist with multiple self-releases, an endless supply of song ideas, a joyful attitude, and an emphasis on rhythm, connection, and collaboration.
The main purpose of everything I create or write is to make a connection. To stir something. To express a feeling that will move another person in a positive way. And I’m not interested in doing anything else.
As songwriters and musicians, music is the way we express emotions. It's the way we communicate. Our songs are our voices when we can't find the words. But no matter how personal they are, our music isn't just for us. Songs are a chance to share in a human experience with others. So we need to make sure we're telling the stories we want to tell and develop melodies, structure, mood, sounds, and lyrical content that take listeners down our intended path.
I'll dig deep into your musical, lyrical, and conceptual ideas and work together with you to bring your vision to life.
Send me a note through the contact button above.
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Interview with Ryan Engelbert
Q: What questions do you ask prospective clients?
A: What do you want people to feel when they hear this song?
Q: What advice do you have for a customer looking to hire a provider like you?
A: Come prepared to dig deep into your music and ask a lot of questions, not only to me but to yourself and what you want your music to say to everyone who hears it.
Q: What was your career path? How long have you been doing this?
A: I've been writing and performing music for 25 years in the New York City area, and I've been releasing my own music (as well as work with other bands) for over a decade.
Q: How would you describe your style?
A: Loose, rhythmically focussed, and collaborative.
Q: Which artist would you like to work with and why?
A: I'd love to work with Glen Hansard or Mark Guiliana. The two come from different worlds in terms of genre, but I feel like both of them share the same sense of appreciation and deep love for music and the creative process. It would be a joy to be in the same room with either of them, sharing in an open-hearted musical experience.
Q: Can you share one music production tip?
A: Emotion is the most important part of any track. Play the song with the same emotion you had when you wrote it and when you feel like you've done that don't do another take.
Q: What type of music do you usually work on?
A: I typically work with singer/songwriters (generally guitar players) on lyrics and consult on how their songs can develop, whether it be through mood and tension or by adding or subtracting a section.
Q: What's your strongest skill?
A: My strongest skill is coming up with new song ideas. My phone is filled with videos and voice notes of song seedlings, melodic ideas, and completed unreleased material that I'm always adding to day after day. I enjoy the creative process the most and it comes naturally to me. I also feel like I bring a bit of an unexpected approach to music, meaning, I like to choose chords and structure songs in ways that don't necessarily fit with conventional thinking (within reason of course).
Q: What do you bring to a song?
A: I bring my whole self to a song. I bring my own interpretation of what the song means as well as my own personal connection to the music and lyrics. I want music to have humanity and to feel like it's toiled over and crafted like a piece of granite that reveals a gorgeous sculpture beneath it.
Q: What's your typical work process?
A: When it comes to songwriting or performing on a track, I like to have a conversation with the person I'm working with to get a sense of their connection to the material and what they want me to bring to the music. Sometimes is clear, other times it's an exploratory conversation where we talk about multiple ways to approach a song. I like to make sure the process is open and collaborative but also defined as we move toward finishing a song.
Q: Describe the most common type of work you do for your clients.
A: Most of the work I do is collaborating or co-writing with songwriters. I help identify musical and lyrical themes, intention, and meaning within songs to help artists say what they want to say in their music.
Q: Tell us about a project you worked on you are especially proud of and why. What was your role?
A: I'm proud to be the writer and primary performer on all of my solo material. Since 2019, I've self-released 4 albums, 1 EP, and 3 singles. Of that music, I'm especially happy with my instrumental record "Neptune" which features 7 original compositions. It's a guitar record with very little going on other than the song itself. I wanted the focus to be the melody, structure, and sound of the instrument, whether it be acoustic or electric guitar, and I tried to limit myself in terms of additional instrumentation. I think that album is beautiful and takes listeners on a cinematic journey. Each track is different, which I hope invites people to visit different worlds to invent their own moods and storylines.
Q: What are you working on at the moment?
A: I'm always working on writing new music for my singer/songwriter group Ryan Engelbert & The Little Victories. I'm looking to record a new record in the latter part of 2022 and release it in early 2023. Aside from writing, I'm also performing in New York City and the northeast—from Rockwood Hall and Pete's Candy Store in NYC to Luthier's Co-op in Massachusetts.
Q: Tell us about your studio setup.
A: My setup is minimal. It's a quintessential bedroom studio, which I think is perfect and really all you need to make most any kind of music. I have my guitars at the ready, next to my amp and small pedalboard. I've got Logic Pro and my Scarlett 6i6 along with some modest mics (Telefunken M80 and some Shure 57's). And of course, a healthy supply of notebooks, my favorite pen and ink refills so I can write lyrics.
Q: What other musicians or music production professionals inspire you?
A: Rhythmically, emotionally, and overall musically, Brian Blade is a huge inspiration to me. His musical choices, groove, and feeling that he puts into every stroke of his drumstick is incredible. He's also a wonderfully thoughtful songwriter, which moves me to think about how to build a story within the music I make. I also love Blake Mills for the sounds he chooses in the studio and his artistic approach to music. I strive to be as exploratory and open to whatever the music dictates when I'm in the studio or writing a song.